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Lakewood Partition Lawyers

The City of Lakewood was first developed as a post-World War II planned housing development by Louis Boyar, Mark Taper, and Ben Weingart. These three men are credited as the people who forever altered the map of Southern California. Homes were massed produced, with over 17,500 houses being built in less than three years, setting the record for 110 completed houses each day. Today, over 70% of Lakewood homes are owner-occupied, which suggests that many homes are jointly owned. Residents of Lakewood who wish to sell their homes may face disputes with co-owners. Generally, a partition action is the best remedy for disputing co-owners in four broad categories:

  • Split real estate dispute;
  • Brother-Sister real estate dispute;
  • Investor-Investor real estate dispute; and
  • Significant other real estate dispute

Tenants in common have the fundamental right to occupy the whole of the property. Thus, a tenant in common is not entitled to possess or use the property in a way that excludes another co-owner's right to possess or use the property for any period of time. When a wrongful dispossession or exclusion occurs, the tenant in possession has committed an ouster. Once a party is ousted, he or she is "entitled to recover damages resulting from the ouster, which ordinarily amounts to his or her share of the value of the use and occupation of the land from the time of the ouster." (Zaslow v. Kroenert (1946) 29 Cal.2d 541, 548.) Recently, the California Court of Appeal addressed a dispossessed co-owner's right to rent after he or she was ousted from the property in a case decided by the Sixth District Court of Appeal known as Colmet-Daage v. Cremoux (2021) 2021 Cal.App.Unpub.LEXIS 2208.

There, a wife and husband took title to property as joint tenants and later when the couple separated, the wife recorded a Declaration of Severance of Joint Tenancy, making both parties tenants in common. The husband then sought a partition action and one-half of the rents received by the wife. The trial court ordered the partition and found that the husband was entitled to one-half of the fair rental value of the property under the principles of ouster. The wife appealed, contending that the application of ouster principles provided a credit in favor of the husband in excess of the amount he was entitled.

The Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that "the ouster must be proved by acts of adverse character, such as claiming the whole for himself or herself, denying the title of his or her companion, or refusing to permit him or her to enter." (Zaslow v. Kroenert, 29 Cal.2d at 548.) The Appellate Court determined that the record supported a finding that the ouster had occurred long before the date the wife alleged as she stopped admitting him onto the Property, installed a security system to exclude the husband, sought a restraining order against the husband from going near the Property, and listed the Property as her residence address. The Appellate Court also determined that because there was no citation to the record to support her statement that the fair market rent would be zero due to the Property's broken sewer and waste drainage line making the Property uninhabitable, her contentions would be disregarded. As such, the ouster continued based the wife's conduct until the date of trial and the husband was entitled to the fair rental value for that time.

How the Underwood Law Firm Can Help

In order to start resolving these situations, you should contact the experienced Lakewood Partition Lawyers at the Underwood Law Firm, P.C. as soon as you are ready to start the next chapter of your life.

Client Reviews
“We were in need of a real estate attorney. Eli Underwood provided excellent legal advice and services. He explained everything well and followed through with all important issues that needed attention. We found him to be reliable, courteous, patient and extremely professional. We highly recommend Mr. Underwood without any reservations.” I.S.
"I own a real estate investment company that operates across multiple states (California, Washington, Oregon, Montana, and more), whenever I run into an issue that needs legal attention, Eli is my first call. I've been working with him for years. He is an amazing attorney and I highly recommend him." Thank you for your help Sir!" T.W.
"Mr. Underwood is a fantastic Lawyer with extraordinary ethics. He responds quickly, which is rare these days, and he is very knowledgeable in his craft. It was a pleasure working with him and we will definitely use his services in the future if needed. Thank you for your help Sir!" M.O.
"Eli took our case and controlled every hurdle put before us. I one time commented to him that he must love his job because it seemed that he was always available. When talking about my case to anyone I always bring up where, I believe, the other parties Lawyer tried to take advantage of my wife and me. Eli stopped him in his tracks. On top of it being easy to work with Eli, it was a pleasure to have had him represent us. We were in good hands." E.T
"We were in need of an attorney with considerable knowledge of real estate law and the legal issues related to property ownership. Eli Underwood went above and beyond our expectations. In keeping us abreast of our suit, his communication skills were outstanding. This talent was especially demonstrated when dealing with the apposing counsel. We feel this gave us a tremendous advantage over the opposing party that resulted in us reaching a successful outcome. I would highly recommend Eli Underwood as we found him to be an exceptional attorney." P.B.
"In our need for legal services we found Eli to be well informed and on top of our case and our needs. Our's was not an ordinary case as it was a case with many facets. It was a very convoluted case. There were multiple owners involved in a property dispute where one of the owners sued the rest of the owners with a Partition Suit. Needless to say Eli was instrumental in helping us resolve our differences and gained us a profitable sale all with good end results for all. If you hire Eli Underwood you will not be disappointed!" M.A.